Reviews: Breath Of Fire IV

It drags on. And on. And on and on and on and on...

That groanworthy pun is unfortunately pretty true of the game. When I started playing IV, it had a lot going for it. I appreciated the complexity of its battle system, the various mini-games they threw in to spice things up, the rather unusual and interesting choices they made regarding the characters (even if Scias certainly could have used more presence)...

And then I reached the 40 hour mark and realized something: the game was taking incredibly great pains to waste my time, and had been doing so for the past ten hours or so. Knowing I was near the end of the game (thanks to my standard skimming of game guides to explain important mechanics this kind of game doesn't feel like explaining), I was questioning why I, almighty Ryu, master of the Endless, the might of all the dragons of the world at my fingertips, was still doing stupid crap like chasing chickens into a coop.

That is perhaps the main problem of this game, the pace. Watching Ryu and co try to achieve their goals is like watching a mountain being ground by the wind. There's never any sense of accomplishment because pretty much every goal the game wants to give you is solved at the end of the game, and the rest of it is just dealing with things in your way. It gets rather tedious and frustrating because of that. You want to save the princess, but woops! you broke the convenient gateway. Find a ship. Go through an annoying minigame. No wait, how about two? Waste time exploring a haunted cove for no real reason. Can't walk over the tides right now? Find medicine for an inconsequential furry creature. Still with us?

To compare to a prior and much better game in the series, II, it's as if clearing your best friend's name was the entire plot of the game instead of an introductory arc for character scenarios, and that they stretched it out by breaking every bridge possible.

I might be able to bear with this if they had interesting scenarios on the way but they don't. Not even the atmosphere of the game is noteworthy. I don't really like the 2D sprite on 3D background graphical style, and the music (other than Kahn's theme) is utterly forgettable. Even though the towns are all distinct, they still come across as bland, other than maybe Windia and the Woren home.

So yeah, I'd stay away unless you're a fan. It's not really worth the time.